August 30, 2021 Historic Fox Hall anchors affordable housing proposal in Upham’s Corner
The proposal is a 86,130 square foot residential and commercial development with 72 new apartment units across the historic building and new construction at the rear of the parcel. Fifteen of the 72 units are designated as artists live/work spaces. An additional 5,524 square feet of commercial space will house local retail enterprises, and 24 parking spaces will support the building’s residents. The project retains the current commercial and residential tenants in Fox Hall, and creates additional affordable housing units. Historic Boston Inc. is on the development team as historic preservation consultant for the historic 1894 Fox Hall building.
The project is currently under Article 80 permitting review with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, and is seeking neighborhood input through the City-appointed Impact Advisory Group and broader community meetings. In the meantime, the development is seeking support for affordable housing construction from the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development.
According to JLDC principal, Michael Rooney, community support has been strong for the proposed project. “We have had immense support at all levels,” said Rooney. “Mayor Kim Janey has been an incredible source of support from the start. Local elected officials including State Senator Nick Collins, Representative Liz Miranda, and Councilor Frank Baker have been key in keeping the project moving forward as well. We are proud to represent the values and needs put forth by the community and its elected officials, namely affordable housing.”
Rooney also noted the local organizations and individuals who have been advising the development team: Jermain Tellick, owner of Family Affair restaurant; Val Daley, Executive Director of Upham’s Corner Main Streets; Marty Glenn, head of Handcock Street Neighborhood Association; Daniel Cushing of Jones Hill Neighborhood Association, and Joelle Fontaine, Assistant Director of the Fairmount Innovation Lab.
JLDC Development purchased the property in 2018, but the development is a joint venture with Cruz Development. “We are proud to collaborate with the third largest minority-owned company in Massachusetts,” said Rooney. “From a diversity and inclusivity perspective, this is crucial to us, especially because we are working in a diverse area like Upham’s Corner.”
Once approved, the project is expected to be completed in phases, the first being construction of the new residential units on what is currently a parking lot, followed by the historic rehabilitation of Fox Hall. According to Rooney, the goal is to re-locate nearly 15 current SRO tenants in Fox Hall to the newly constructed units before beginning Fox Hall.
Rooney is particularly proud of the project’s affordable housing goals; the complex will include 100% affordable units that range from 30%-100% AMI. “With a project like this, we are ensuring the site will always remain within reach of neighborhood residents,” said Rooney. “We are looking forward to adding to the affordable housing inventory in the area, because it is greatly needed.”
JLDC Development sees this project as a catalyst for the revitalization of the commercial district. “We love that we are preserving an historic building,” said Rooney. “It was never a question that we would restore the building. Our goal was to build and restore without displacing existing tenants, and we are so happy it is coming to fruition.”